In recent years, ski resorts have gotten really creative about luring non-skiers to the mountain.
Dog sledding, lift-assisted snow-tubing and snowshoeing are becoming almost commonplace at resorts big enough to support them, and some mountains have upped the ante with even more unusual offerings, like guided moonlight treks and horse-drawn sleigh rides – complete with blankets and hot toddies -- to on-mountain dinner venues.
The idea behind the expanding menu of activities is to make the notion of a ski vacation more appealing to a wider market. No longer does the non-skier in the family have to stay home – or worse, spend the day sitting by the fire trying to read in the base lodge, feeling increasingly left out as the day goes on.
Of course, these ancillary activities can also be appealing to skiers and snowboarders who like a break from the sport and want to try something different. I love to ski, for example, but by 2 p.m. I’m ready for the spa or, especially when my children were younger, a few hours of snowtubing.
Winter sports enthusiasts looking for something really different might want to try a new spin on apres ski with a scuba lesson at the Homestead Resort in Utah, located about 15 minutes from Park City.
Scuba? In winter?
In fact, guests at the resort can visit Park City, Deer Valley or any of the nearby mountains for on- or off-slope fun one day and try a scuba diving lesson in the Homestead Crater geothermic hot springs the next. The 1,000-plus-year-old crater, billed as the only warm water scuba diving destination in the continental U.S., is on the Homestead Resort property and boasts naturally heated mineral water of 90 to 95 degrees.
If scuba sounds a little ambitious, you can also snorkel or just soak in the warm water.
Or bring the kids and tee up at Alpine Meadows for a day of snow golf, played with green tennis balls. The annual event takes place every spring and features a nine-hole course on the slopes from Summit Express Chair to the bottom of Alpine Bowl Chair.
For something a little more relaxing, how about a flightseeing tour of the mountains via glider at Telluride? The flights operate all year but are weather dependent.